Change by Manuel Wortman

CHANGE:  1969-2003

In 1969-70 I shifted from the rural United Methodist Church in mid-state North Carolina to try my hand for one year at the Wesley Foundation, the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.   After a successful year there, I moved to Appalachian State University for 5 years, then to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill for 23 years,  finishing my career as the Conference Executive for Higher Education and Campus Ministry in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, appointed by Bishop Charlene Kammerer, a campus minister,  former assistant and later acting Minister to the University at Duke [a position that the then President of Duke offered her fulltime, but she chose to return to the local church, and was soon elected Bishop.]

For the sake of history, here are some of my most salient memories.   In 1969 when I entered campus ministry, we sixties folks remember the horrors of 1968, which may have been the most difficult year in my memory.  Though it had been nearly five years, it seemed only the month before that  John Kennedy had been shot,  then Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were both  killed in 1968!   The  world of downtown larger cities  felt like they were in flames nightly.  Spock and Coffin were indicted for violation of the draft law.  The TET Offensive became a killing field;   a Vietnamese security officer executed a Vet Cong prisoner with a pistol to his head.   And a military politician was saying that it might be necessary to “destroy a Vietnamese village in order to save it.”  At the time of the “Prague Spring”, the Republicans nominated Richard Nixon for their candidate,   the Democratic Convention in Chicago erupted,   George Wallace ran his own Independent campaign,   NOW protested the Miss American Beauty contest,  Eugene McCarthy washed out, more that ½ million US soldiers in remained posted in Vietnam,  and Arlo Guthrie sang about “Alice’s Restaurant.”    And it did not cease; at Kent State in 1970, Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds into anti-war student demonstrators, killing 4, injuring 9.

What a time to enter campus ministry!   How could we ever forget?   Or forgive?!   In Greensboro, NC, where rude memories of sit-ins at Woolworths lingered, the Wesley Foundation with the Quakers and others entered into anti-war and civil rights activities.  I was asked to do a weekend workshop on social change for the Presbyterian students.   The UNCG group was exclusively white; we were to meet students from a historically black university, Fayetteville State, for a weekend at the beach.    Though the Presbyterian ministry had informed the motel that we were a mixed racial group and had been assured that was not a problem, it turned out otherwise when we arrived.   The African American students were told they could go to the next beach [a “colored beach”] for their sleeping quarters.     All students voted loudly and unanimously, “NO!!”     We awakened the local Presbyterian minister, and students of all colors slept in every nook and cranny of the Myrtle Beach Presbyterian Church for the two nights we were there—and the next morning we had social change in the color of our faces!

From that charged environment, I moved to a quieter, mountain campus in Boone, NC for five years of new but creative activity.  Wesley students and I, with the help of a friendly faculty, succeeded in introducing a Peace Studies minor into the curriculum.   We founded a Student Volunteer Service Corp and sent 150 students to work– mostly with children in the mountain coves.   At that time, we were only beginning to work with un-planned pregnancies among our students.    I can never forget that I counseled 18 students about abortion in one month. The gay and lesbian students found Wesley to be the safest place on campus.    Carlyle Marney, that great Southern preacher of the time, said of that ministry to gay and lesbian students:  “best damn thing he had heard about the church in a long time.”

In 1975 I moved into the legacy of Bob Johnson, Banks Godfrey, and the activism on UNC’s campus, with a residual remembrance of Wesley’s coffeehouse where James and Livingstone Taylor had played during their high school years.   Though his imprint was branded on the campus, Bob Johnson moved on.   He and Mike Bloy, Nancy Malone, and Bernard Lafayette laid out our academic world with the NICM Journal and regular conferences.  The retired chaplain from Northwestern, Ralph Dunlop, living 6 months per year in Chapel Hill, became a fortress for us emotionally and politically.     But the times, indeed, they were a’ changing.   After the death of Kent State students, there seemed to be a  shift.  As the students said:  “There ain’t no peace without, so we will look for peace within.”   Variations of Eastern Religions began to be studied and practiced, which, in turn, led the more religiously conservative students toward evangelical groups.  (Intervarsity may have had the largest chapter in the US at Chapel Hill.)    We at Wesley continued our activist legacy and worked, when possible, with minorities, providing the space and some support for the first African American student newspaper on campus entitled,” Black Ink.”   And Wesley helped form inclusive residency living communities at Wesley and on campus.    But the newest things for students became forms of volunteerism and more traditional student ministry styles.   We even had a singing group of 50 or so students.  One student, the son of a missionary, pushed us to do work mission teams.  These trips were so successful and had such strong impact on students, that we did an annual mission for the next 16 years:  to Mexico, the Caribbean, NYC, Atlanta, and Miami, alternating every third year working with the mountain poor in NC.     Students’ lives were changed.   More than 50 students from this one Wesley Center entered professional ministry in the next 18 or so years.

At the national Section on Campus Ministry for the United Methodist Church, we tried national and regional conferences again with considerable success, but any notions that we could revive a Methodist or an ecumenical student movement soon went by the way.

It was years of hard work and remarkable memories.  When the nights were cold and things seemed not to be going well for me personally, I developed a rhythm of remembering the “saints of Wesley,” and my uncertainties about my vocation and career disappeared into the realities of the real movement of God’s presence in ways I could never have imagined.

But not all was well.  I moved into an administrative post and spent 5 years trying to help my younger colleagues prepare for the hard times when funds would diminish in large portions.   It has been difficult to watch.

We pray that Campus Ministry, the “best kept secret in the Church,” will not only survive but continue with vigor.

 

Our Life in Campus Ministry by Bob and Shirley Cooper

 

Probably not too many seminary graduates have spent their entire careers as campus ministers, but for Bob and me it seemed a natural thing to do. We both were active in a student group while in college – in fact, we met at a national Methodist Student Conference in Urbana, Illinois. We both have vivid memories of the first worship’s opening hymn: 3500 voices from all over the world joining in singing “For All the Saints.” After we married, we followed in the footsteps of role models we admired as students, Maye Bell at the SMU Methodist Student Movement and Cecil and Faye Matthews at the Texas Tech Wesley Foundation.

The Texas Methodist Student Movement had recently been organized when Bob finished at Perkins in 1952.. He was happy to be appointed to serve with Ferris and Marion Baker at the Wesley Foundation for schools in Denton, now called North Texas University and Texas Woman’s University. The ‘50s offered opportunities for state and national student conferences to enrich Methodist students’ spiritual, intellectual, and social awareness. They also fostered a deep trust and commitment among campus ministers. Local retreats, worship services, cell groups (called prayer groups and other names in the anti-communist years to come), service projects and recreation were offered. We lived in the second floor of the Methodist Center at TSCW, now TWU. The early morning prayer group saw us off to the hospital to have our first child.

Counseling was always needed, since students were mostly young in those days, and suffered the stresses of growing up, succeeding in school, choosing a career and often a mate, as well as meeting challenges to their faith. Older students often had settled some of these issues, but had other stresses instead.

After our four years spent in Denton Bob was assigned to what is now Texas A&M, Canyon. That became a one-year assignment when Bob refused to sign a “loyalty oath” required of all teachers during the worst of the McCarthy persecutions. Our friends Bob Monk and Bob Breihan found a way to finance a position for Bob Cooper as part-time program director for the state and regional meetings and part-time associate director at Texas A&M in College Station. After a year Bob Monk left for graduate work at Princeton U. and Bob Cooper was Wesley Foundation director for three more years. Then we were off to Drew University in New Jersey for a Masters Degree in Theology. (In those days, three years at seminary entitled students to a Bachelor of Divinity Degree only, and some universities required those who taught Bible courses to have a Masters degree. Yes, Texas allowed campus ministers to offer courses for college credit back then.) As was our custom, we moved towing a U-Haul trailer and car packed with boxes and a baby bed mattress on top. We had two little boys and another on the way. My feet were on a box and our turtle was in his bowl on my lap. Finishing his degree, Bob was appointed to Texas A&I in Kingsville as minister for Presbyterians, Disciples, Episcopalians and United Methodists, and to S.M.U. for 27 years, where Bob was first director as part of the Wesley – Presbyterian – Christian Fellowship. This morphed into the United Campus Ministries which included Roman Catholics, Campus Y, and others. Later, Bob’s job title was changed to Associate Chaplain, an office which included many of his former duties along with some new ones. These included a shared responsibility for the Sunday chapel service and coordinating a campus ministry organization of all religious groups on campus. This group planned all-campus service projects and encouraged cooperation between ministries.

In 1984, while Bob was serving as Acting Chaplain at Westminster College, Oxford, the students were intrigued that SMU, with 10,000 students, had only two university chaplains, while every college (15) at Oxford (each with 3oo-400 students) had at least one chaplain and usually two.  Bob explained that SMU had 14 football coaches!

The styles of clothing, music, political and economic philosophy, and even theological viewpoint changed cyclically through the years, but students, staff and faculty all were still people with the same basic needs.

Our three sons cut their teeth on the campus upheavals of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but also had the unforgettable experience of hearing in Sunday Chapel great preachers like Claude Evans, Schubert Ogden, John Deschner, William Sloane Coffin, etc. and great music led by Lloyd Pfautsch, Carleton Young, and Robert Anderson. And our children enjoyed the extra attention the students gave them. We remember 8-month old Glenn sitting on the ping- pong table while a friendly game was played over his head. Graduate psychology students, who were required to test children, found the boys to be willing subjects.

Before SMU, Bob worried that he had to spend too much time on maintaining Wesley Foundation buildings and grounds, and so was pleased and relieved that SMU would give us space in the Student Center that someone else cared for. Imagine our surprise when the next campus minister thought that being at a separate building was a primary need!

As times change, ministers and ministries change, but Wesley’s challenge to unite “knowledge and vital piety” remains.

 

Shirley and Bob were at Denton Wesley Foundation from 1952-56, West Texas State 1956-57, Texas A&M 1957-60, Graduate work at Drew University1960-61, Texas A&I 1961-65, and SMU 1965-92.  Since retirement I’ve been active at Casa Emanu-El UMC, Dallas Area Interfaith, Lake Highlands-White Rock Democrats, and play tennis twice a week.  Shirley taught three and four year olds in day school and was younger children’s secretary at Highland Park UMC.  She became secretary for the Dallas Hotel-Motel Association and then for the North Texas Conference.  “We are now moving into a retirement residence where some good church friends live.  (C.C. Young)  We hope to get ahead of the need.”

It’s Us or Them: Campus Ministry at Texas Tech by Roger Loyd

 

In his excellent history of the Northwest Texas Conference (And are we yet alive?), historian David J. Murrah devotes a section to what he calls “the camping war.” He explains that, beginning in 1970, the conference began to offer alternative camps for senior high youth, one that came to be called “One Way” for more evangelical youth, the other was offered as the “traditional” camp, with its staff being known as the conference’s liberals, including me. As Murrah narrates it,

 

This issue, more than any others, became a dividing point that forced churches and individuals to make a distinct choice between “evangelical” and “liberal.” That issue was the conference’s summer camping program. (Murrah, 186-187)

 

During my three years of pastoral ministry in Northwest Texas (1971-74), I had been an active staff member of the traditional camps for high school youth. The bishop and cabinet, in June 1974, appointed me as the United Methodist campus minister for Texas Tech University, carrying with it the title, Director of the Wesley Foundation, as well as responsibilities for teaching in the religion department of Texas Tech, made up of its campus ministers. I gladly accepted the appointment and moved my family from Levelland to Lubbock.

 

As I described to Murrah, the conference’s polarization affected the Wesley Foundation greatly. Though we made every effort to include students of all persuasions, recruiting them from United Methodist churches in the conference and beyond, the students who came to the Wesley Foundation were typically not those from more conservative congregations. About the work that my predecessor Gene Sorley and I did, Murrah quotes another distinguished historian, McMurry’s Robert Monk, who said,

 

Both Gene and Roger were trained in the newer theologies and were certainly better attuned to the changes in student perspective. … But their theologies tended to represent the ‘liberal’ positions in the conference theology. (Murrah, 251)

 

Murrah proceeds to document the disagreement by discussing the ministries to college students offered through St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, whose pastor was Ed Robb (a founder of the Good News movement). Murrah explains,

 

The Texas Tech Wesley Foundation found itself competing with Robb’s church for students. “[Robb] was very clear that he was pulling in a whole other direction than I was pulling,” [Loyd] said, “and neither of us would change what we were doing.” (Murrah, 251)

 

With this sort of push-and-pull going on, I neither had time nor interest to look to the wider world of campus ministry outside of Texas, so being asked to prepare this document on my relationship with the National Campus Ministry Association is frankly a bit unusual, but sooner or later I often do what my friend Betsy Alden asks of me. I certainly know and respect many of my campus ministry colleagues around the country.

 

What did campus ministry at Texas Tech involve? First and foremost, it was an effort to connect with the students at the university, both those who identified as Methodist and others as well. We offered a varied program, including a weekly meal and discussion, worship opportunities, off-campus retreats to Sacramento and Ceta Canyon Methodist camps, summer hikes with students in the New Mexico and Colorado mountains, special events such as film festivals and late-Saturday-night viewing parties for “Saturday Night Live” … as well as instruction in courses in New Testament and Old Testament, which students could take for credit through Texas Tech. Moreover, we prepared the musical “Celebrate Life!” for public presentation (in the basement of our Wesley Foundation, where we had a large room with a stage), and involved about fifty people as actors, musicians, director, stagehands, and the like. As best I recall now, we offered the musical three times, to good crowds. I also remember quite well the storeroom downstairs, in which was a full run of Motive Magazine, a vanguard Methodist periodical which went out of business in 1972 after publishing an issue written and edited by lesbians and feminists.

 

Looking back through the reports I submitted to the Northwest Texas conference, as found in the conference minutes of my years at Tech (1974-80), I also see that building maintenance and repair was a frequent topic. After all, the Wesley Foundation building had been built in 1950, through a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. M. C. Overton of First Methodist Church, but needed continuing attention to such matters as a new roof, new linoleum in the basement (for which the students and I removed the old, asbestos-laden tile by hand, with straight-edged hoes, carrying it out to the alley and dumping it into the city’s garbage bins by the barrelful), and updating and repairing the Wesley Lodge (a retreat center at nearby Buffalo Springs Lake owned by the Wesley Foundation), for which I was manager and schedule coordinator.

 

The 1978 report mentioned an event, World Hunger Emphasis Day, at Tech, sponsored by all of Tech’s campus ministry groups, during which students fasted for 30 hours, donating the proceeds to an offering for CROP. It notes that State Senator Kent Hance spoke to the students during the event. (Conference Minutes, 1978, 141)

 

An excerpt from the 1979 report further illustrates the kind of campus ministry we offered:

 

But even more, the Wesley Foundation is people. Campus minister Roger Loyd, his staff, the people of the Wesley Foundation board, the students, the international groups, community groups, and many others… people who matter, being served by the Wesley Foundation. For instance, the Sunday night supper and worship time has more than doubled in attendance, because of the warmth of relationships existing among the people involved. Every activity is co-led, with one student leader aiding the campus minister in planning and carrying out the program. (Conference Minutes, 1979, 15)

 

The 1980 report lists various features of my campus ministry: “as teacher, as counselor, as United Methodist Student Loan officer, as group leader, as guest preacher, as one who is available to students and other Tech people.” (Conference Minutes, 1980, 166) The same report notes that John Rakestraw, Jr., was on the staff of the Wesley Foundation in an unusual combination of duties, as campus ministry associate and part-time secretary!

 

During the years 1979-80, I was also called upon to be the part-time executive for the Texas Commission on Campus Ministry. My predecessors had been Wallace Chappell and George Yates, who passed along the records of that organization to me. When I became a member of the library staff of Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University, I donated that collection to the library. Anyone wishing further information about the TCCM can consult their online guide at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/smu/00184/smu-00184.html (a statewide resource on higher education assembled by the library of the University of Texas). Robert Monk, himself a former campus minister, provided a helpful historical note to the records as well as putting the materials into folders and providing other assistance to the Bridwell Library staff.

 

One may look back at the whole history of the Wesley Foundation at Texas Tech from its founding in 1935 by going to its website. As they celebrated their 75th year of service in 2010, they gathered historical information and presented it at the following location: http://ttuwesley.org/who-we-are/our-history

 

Moreover, the current leaders of the Wesley Foundation provided a helpful list of the campus ministers to the present, at the following location: http://www.friendsofwesley.com/leadership-by-era/  On that website, both Gene Sorley’s and my names are misspelled. The full list is as follows:

 

1935-65: Cecil Matthews

1965-74: Gene Sorley

1974-80: Roger Loyd

1980-89: Steve Moore

1989-95: Stan McKinnon

1995-2000: Andy Hurst

2001-08: Greg Haseloff

2008-present: Al Martin

 

From 1980 forward, the Wesley Foundation has clearly been identified with the more conservative theological parts of the conference. Its leaders have all graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary, where it has sent many of its graduates to prepare for ministry in Northwest Texas and beyond. Though I have characterized this group as “them” in my comments, I believe that they are doing their ministry to honor God and to serve Jesus Christ and his Church as best they can, as of course I did also.

 

As I reflect on those years of my life, the one regret I have is the requirement by SMU that I keep my appointment to Bridwell Library secret until June 1, 1980 (because the Board of Trustees had not yet voted its approval). The result was that I was unable to bid farewell to my students, my staff, or my board, but had to rely on letters to them instead. We were able to say good-bye to St. John’s United Methodist Church, our across-the-street neighbor and strongest supporting congregation, and its excellent pastor, Ted Dotts; our families’ friendship continues to this day.

 

Fortunately, the technology available now makes re-connecting with many of those students and others quite simple, through electronic mail and social media.

 

Roger L. Loyd

(Retired) Director of the Divinity School Library, Duke University, Durham, NC